Reading time: 2 minutes
It’s not a ramp.
And right away, that makes sense even though that may not have been your first thought when reading the title.
Buttons to open doors are nice, ramps are helpful, technology that allow people like Stephen Hawking to change the world is really great.
But it all comes from people who care. Of course, there are people who don’t care, and why should they? There just isn’t a reason for everyone to care, but those that do care have a good reason. A good reason enough to dedicate their lives to making the world accessible to everyone for disabilities of the physical and mental kind.
This is something I hadn’t truly realized until lately. I was thinking about how it doesn’t matter where I go, as long as there are good people around or coming with me, then accessibility is the help I can get.
While applying for internships, places such as Microsoft come to mind and they’re phenomenal with accessibility, which is really nice. But I also think sometimes that, at least for me, it doesn’t matter as much as the culture and the people. If it’s an accessible culture, then they’ll carry me up the stairs, or as an engineering company, they would maybe create some jetpack thing.
When I go out on trails with my friend, I don’t feel like a burden (ever), but it’s impossible to feel a bit bad that it’s all about me. And not that I’m uncomfortable with having the spotlight, but I’m a host and when I go out to do something with my friends, I want to make sure we’re all having a memorable, danger zone experience. It’s hard to do that when everyone has to focus on me and helping my get around and then we all end up missing that serene feeling that comes with a slow walk through a beautiful trail.
For most people with disabilities (not me, so I could be wrong because I don’t have direct experience), there could be a feeling of not-belonging. An inferiority complex could arise, especially if the person is disabled throughout their developing years. That is why a community of accessible culture is more important than anything, with technology as a very close second.
There are doubtless some disabilities where a culture won’t completely suffice, such as ones that truly need help from technology and can’t be replaced by a human, but even then, it takes a team of dedicated engineers and wicked smart people who care to help create that technology.
It’s all about the people, it always has been.
Immediate actionable items: Are you a member of the accessible community? Someone who has a bias for action to help others? Probably.
Summary: the most accessible thing in the world is a caring community.
Overdeliver: Something I’ve decided to try and do instead of going somewhere and buying a memento is to go and create a moment. At a store, or traveling, or anywhere possible – try to create a memorable time and leave a (good) mark on every part of the world you go to. But don’t try too hard, it’s unbecoming.